August Bibliolust

At times, lust is a far stronger emotion than guilt. Thus, despite bemoaning the number of books in the “to be read” bookcase, I still lust after more. Foretunately, the local library and its reserve list can help satiate the lust, as it is doing with this month’s bibliolust list.

Armenian Golgotha, Grigoris Balakian — I’ve been intrigued with the Armenian genoicide since reading Skylark Farm a couple years ago. I don’t recall how this book came across my radar this past month, but I thought it would be interesting to read a firsthand account. First published in the U.S. some 80 years ago, it was reissued earlier this year.

The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, Jeff Sharlet — Althouhg published more than a year ago, an interview with the author broadcast recently on Fresh Air and reports that John Thune is a member brought it to my attention. I am patiently waiting my turn through the library.

The Girl Who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson — I recently finished Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and, to be honest, wasn’t all that impressed. But every review I’ve seen of this indicates it is better and focuses more on the background of Lisbeth Salander, to me the most interesting and compelling character in the first book. It is undoubtedly popular. Even though I got on the library reserve list nine days before the book came out, I am still number 16 in the pecking order.

The Maimed, Hermann Ungar — This makes the list thanks to a review on a world lit blog I just discovered. When the opening sentence of the review described it as a “wonderfully terrifying descent into paranoia, perversity and the power of abuse,” I was hooked.

Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town, Nick Reding — A favorable NYT review and the fact this story of the impact of meth on rural areas is set in Iowa brings it to the list. I’m currently in the number 5 position on the library’s reserve list.

Wave of Terror, Theodore Odrach — I learned of this book through a new Goodreads friend, who happens to be the daughter of the author and the translator of the novel. The novel deals with the Stalinist occupation of Belarus just prior to World War II and the foreign exchange student we hosted eight years ago was from Belarus. Given the Soviet annexation and the current government, it is hard to find novels about Belarus.

The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood — Margaret Atwood is one of those highly respected authors who isn’t afraid to venture into the scifi genre. Her forthcoming novel, which I have sitting in my review stack, is another of her visits to a dystopian society.

…we must read in order to live.

Edward Dowden, Transcripts and Studies

3 comments to August Bibliolust

  • And what is on the "must read" list? I just finished "The Road," which is horrifying, and am now in Burma in WWII. Give me a great book recommendation to take on the plane to Africa.

  • If you're enjoying the Burma book, I might suggest "Tears in the Darkness," which is about the Bataan Death March. Horrifying in its own way but very well written. For fiction, my favorite this year is "Every Man Dies Alone" by Hans Fallada. if you've never read them. "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson and "Out Stealing Horses" by Per Petterson are among my favorites. And, although it's technically science fiction, "The Sparrow" by Mary Doria Russell.

  • I am taking your ideas to Africa. I read "The Sparrow," and the sequel to it — could not put them down as I LOVE fantasy. Have you read her novel about WWII – "Thread of Grace?" Actually as good as or better than Sparrow! Have you ever watched the series "Battlestar Gallatica?" Terrific.